Two youngsters were ‘arrested for firearms offences’ following an incident which saw armed police arrive at a playing field over the weekend.
Cambridgeshire police deployed a ‘large armed presence’ to the Wenny Playing Fields in Chatteris on Sunday evening after a report of a young male being seen with what appeared to be a handgun..
A spokesman for Cambridgeshire police said the armed police presence ‘was in relation to an incident where a young male was seen in public with what was believed to have been a handgun. On being challenged by Armed Police Officers, two juvenile males were detained and subsequently arrested for Firearms offences. One has now been released under investigation whilst our investigation continues, the other has been released with no further action.’
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The incident came hot on the heels of other incidents in the town, believed to be as a result of the weapons being made available at the Chatteris Festival.
Fenland policing commander Inspector Morris said: “ This is the second incident in a week where young people in the town have been seen with potential handguns. The first last week, thankfully turned out to be a plastic BB gun, but as you can see by the picture, still appears and looks like an actual firearm. Due to this, when we get reports of firearms in public we have to take these reports seriously and treat any reports as if it is real firearm and Armed Police Officers will be in attendance.
“Unfortunately, this rise in reports coincides with a stall holder who was selling BB guns at The Chatteris Festival last weekend. We have since been working closely with partners from the festival, who on the day took swift action to stop further sales of these items.
"Due to the sale of these BB guns there are potentially a number of other BB and replica handguns out in the community. We are asking anyone who owns one of these guns or replicas, whether bought at the fair or otherwise, to please hand these weapons over to us. There will be no further action taken by the police if you make immediate action to hand these to the police. I am making this decision to implement a short term amnesty as we want as many of these weapons off of the streets of Chatteris as possible.
"I want to ensure the community remains safe and we don’t get further incidents where Armed Officers are required, and I want to ensure my team can educate the youngsters around the consequences of been in possession of these weapons. It is really important I find the right balance of reassuring the community, taking the appropriate punitive action and educating the community to prevent further incidents.
“In the mean time we will be ensuring we carrying on patrolling the town and reassuring the public and engaging with the community.”
To safely hand over weapons, residents can contact police by emailing [email protected], by using the police webchat service or by calling officers on 101.